Driver who ran over, killed pedestrian outside Decathlon given 3 weeks' jail

Wan Ting Koh
The open carpark outside Decathlon stadium boulevard (Photo from Google Street View)

SINGAPORE — While driving in the open carpark at night outside the Decathlon outlet at Stadium Boulevard, a driver failed to see a pedestrian crossing the road and ran him over. 

The pedestrian, 46-year-old Koh Swee Poh, died from head injuries sustained from the incident. 

The driver, Kasmani Hashim was jailed for three weeks and disqualified from driving for five years on Tuesday (25 February) after the 56-year-old pleaded guilty to one count of causing death through a negligent act on 2 June 2019. 

Failed to spot pedestrian, who was in dark-coloured top

The SBS Transit assistant station manager was driving the car about an hour after midnight at the open carpark outside the Decathlon outlet, with his family in tow. His son-in-law was seated in the front passenger seat. 

With his headlights switched on, Kasmani was driving at about 10kmh. As he made a right turn towards the carpark exit, he failed to spot Koh crossing the carpark lane. Koh was dressed in a dark-coloured top and blue jeans and had his back towards the car. 

Kasmani’s son-in-law noticed Koh crossing the road and yelled “someone ahead” in Malay, but Kasmani was unable to stop the car in time. His car collided into Koh, causing the pedestrian to fall, and its left tyres then ran over Koh before Kasmani could stop the car.

Kasmani alighted from the car with his daughter to check on Koh. The daughter observed that Koh’s right skull was cracked and bleeding. 

Koh was conveyed to Tan Tock Seng Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead at 1.45am. 

Conditions were ‘nightmare’ for driving

Kasmani’s front-facing camera captured the incident, and the footage was played in court. The prosecution noted that there was no traffic at the time of the incident, the weather was fine and the visibility was clear. However the lighting in the carpark was dim.

The car was found to be in serviceable condition with no mechanical faults detected. 

The prosecution sought no less than three weeks’ jail and five years’ disqualification from driving for Kasmani, noting that the incident was an “unfortunate road accident that resulted in a death”. 

Kasmani’s lawyer said that his client had stepped on his accelerator in his panic. He asked for two weeks’ jail for his client, whom he said was “deeply remorseful and extremely guilty” over the accident. 

Kasmani is the sole breadwinner of the family and intends to sell the car, the lawyer added. He had tried to find the victim’s family to apologise, but had his efforts rebuffed by the Investigation Officer. 

The lawyer said that the conditions were a “nightmare” for any driver, pointing out that the area was dimly lit, with the pedestrian dressed in dark clothing and in Kasmani’s blind spot. The streetlights were replaced after the incident, with more spotlights added, he said.

In sentencing Kasmani, District Judge Marvin Bay accepted that the driver had a clean criminal record and that he had tried to reach out to Koh’s family.

He also noted the poor lighting in the area.

“This case illustrates the tragic consequences of inattention while manoeuvring along a car park. I note the camera showing the victim coming into view two seconds before impact,” said DJ Bay.

“Mr Kasmani’s lack of situational awareness is quite evident by the fact of his stepping on the accelerator upon impact and taking some seven seconds to come to a complete stop, despite the frenzied warning of his family members.”

For his offence, Kasmani could have been jailed up to two years, or fined, or with both penalties. 

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